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Temple of Heaven


Temple of Heaven (Tiantan)|Altar of Heaven is located in the southeastern part of Beijing and south of the Forbidden City. It was established in 1420. It was used to hold the memorial ceremonies for Heaven by emperors in different dynasties. The total area covers 273 hectares and is larger than the Forbidden City

temple of heaven

The emperors of ancient China always called themselves the sons of God. They worshipped the Universe and the Earth, so the ceremony for the Universe used to be ranked above other national affairs each year.

temple of heaven

The Temple of Heaven was built in the late period of China’s feudalistic society, and is representative of Chinese ceremony architecture, the essence and pearl of Chinese ancient architecture, and the gem in the world architecture history. The design of the temple emphasizes the expansion and space of the world to show the supremacy of the Universe.


 temple of heaven map



temple of heaven
Inner Temple  is located at the east of the mid-axes from south to north of the outer temple. Each part of the Temple of Heaven has a particular meaning, while some styles of architecture have specific symbolization. Each part of the Temple of Heaven has its own gate. The main architectures are generally located around the south end and north end of the mid-axes of the inner temple. It is better to begin visiting from the south gate.
temple of heaven

To those who take the Temple of Heaven as the outside extension of their own private living space, the magnificent buildings of the Temple of Heaven are indeed a large background of their daily actions.
temple of heaven
The larger attraction is the forest park. Cypress and pine trees were planted during the period of Ming and Qing dynasties. For many years, at dawn, lots of senior people have gathered here from faraway places. They play boxing, kick shuttlecock, and jog along the forest paths. They are more active than the birds. They do not take notice of doctors’ suggestions, or the carbon dioxide index released by weather forecasts.
 temple of heaven
lilac forest

On the west of the Qinian Hall, there is the biggest lilac forest in Beijing. Built in 1421, Zhongshan Park is a former imperial garden from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It is located west of Tian’anmen square in the heart of the inner city and was a site of the former Altar of Land and Harvest, visited biannually by the emperors. After 1911, the site became a park and was renamed in 1928 in honor of Sun Yat-sen, who is considered the father of modern China. The park covers an area of 60 acres and features many traditional Chinese courtyards and halls. Every year a Tulip Garden Party is held here, presenting billions of colorful tulips.


temple of heaven

 temple of heaven


Author: Wu Hao Jan 29,2012
Photos edited by Sophia  Feb 16,2014
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